The dance music producer Munchi, who is a Dominican-Dutch producer born and raised in Rotterdam, was collaborating with Azealia Banks/Diplo on some tracks. However, it looks like someone in that team repeatedly leaked his tracks even after he asked them not to. This means that they repeatedly included his work without his permission and publicized his name on things without asking him first. For the an upcoming video of his track Esta Noche featuring Banks, when he publicly reminded them he hadn't consented to their using the song, they eventually offered him $50,000 to use the track, which was double what they had originally offered. He turned it down.
His summary of the situation:
"What is childish is the fact that I got disrespected 11 times in total and still they thought it was ok to just give me a sum of money for my integrity. You get buyed off for their disrespect and call it a day. Each time they told me something and put out something that was not discussed. In the end trying to blame me for something she put up in error by stating that this release could not be out today since I think she is in the Illuminati. I had to do this after the great amount of patience I've shown. The Interscope problem solver dude was actually pretty cool, I never talked to Azealia or her management, every time they would get me in contact with someone higher in Interscope. This is Interscope we are talking about. What's up with this bitchshit. I am supposed to say "Oh, I'll have to accept Azealia's behaviour since she is an artist and can do whatever she wants." Not happening. The reason why I did not reply to any of the Tweets is simple: I cannot blame the crowd for their ignorance in this situation. 1 thing that you do have to know is that I will always try to be straigt up and be real with it. I tried, but got disrespected every single time."
|Photo by Corinne Haxton|
Looking at the comments on the hiphopdx article, some of the most depressing criticisms of Munchi are that he is a nobody and thus he should just shut up and be thankful to take the money. This argument is pretty sad: so, less famous people deserve to be disrespected by famous people and should be grateful if they get a check afterwards? Money outweighs insults --and that the insulter, or some bystander gets to decide the rate? These comments announce a pretty sad world-view from the commenter, including a pretty low image of themselves, if they see themselves as less-famous people too. If I were them I'd be embarrassed.
On the issue of fame, Munchi is a big name in some electronic dance music circles (including many of the awesome ones that I like to hang out/play with) although I don't think he makes a ton of money. But he has the kind of indie/underground cred that Diplo has made a career out of collaborating with/exploiting. So Munchi's music was a smart choice for Banks, whoever made the link. It really does look like business as usual with respect to Diplo, since it's a pattern he's engaged with many times before. If so, even with all his money (Blackberry sponsorship, label support, etc), he apparently still can't afford to respect less famous (less rich, less white) artists on their own terms. Or doesn't care to. Or else it's Banks that can't or doesn't care to.
I am sick of talking about Diplo, he's just business as usual. In a way, it's nothing new here, we all know the debates, I hope. (Business as usual being global colonial capitalism where the powerful exploit the less powerful.) For me, the point is that everyone who works collaboratively with other humans, especially when there are differentials in power, should think about how they collaborate and not act like exploitative jerks --this depends partly on what your position, i.e. if you have a lot of money it's on you to make an extra effort on behalf of people who have less, if for no other reason than you can definitely afford to. But seriously, if an artist specifically says they don't want something to be done with their stuff what good reason is there to do it anyway (there might be one in some cases, but that still requires thinking about it).
Apparently Banks is ok with this behavior whether it came from her or not. Her response on twitter was not impressive: glossing over the real issue and make fun of Munchi's language. It's not like she isn't capable of understanding what Munchi is mad about. However, she doesn't mention that and instead pretends it's about something stylistic. I'd be curious to hear more sides of it but so far it seems like a familiar story, I'm just sad to see Banks behaving this way.
Munchi gives away a lot of his music for free, which I appreciate. But looks like he doesn't want to contribute his name and his sound to people who don't respect him. I like Munchi's work, and he has shown some interesting depth on issues in the past (especially for a young cisguy in the electronic dance music scene). Sure it's probably easier for him to stand on principle than someone in a more vulnerable position, but from what I see of the situation I like the spine he's showing here.
Here's more of Munchi's music on Soundcloud
And a video I like especially because it has his mom in it.